Degree Requirements

Coursework Credit

A minimum of 72 semester hours of academic coursework is required. Students may take up to a maximum of 12 credits of Thesis Guidance. A minimum of 3 credits of Thesis Guidance is required for the degree. Graduate course credits may be transferred to this department only on approval of the Ph.D. Committee and the Graduate School. No more than 36 credit hours at the post-baccalaureate level may be applied toward the Ph.D. degree program. (See policy regarding age limit on coursework for CDS).

The student must complete the following coursework as part of the qualifications for admission to Ph.D. candidacy:

* Doctoral Research and Theory (CDS 699:) Effective for students entering Fall 2012, 6 credits of CDS 699 are required. Students should register for these credits with their major advisor and the credits are tied to the 2 pre-dissertation research projects (Project 1, Project 2). Thus, students should register for a 3-credit CDS 699 during each of the first two years of their doctoral program. For students who began the PhD program prior to Fall 2012, only 3 credits of CDS 699 are required.

* Competence in the use of research tools is required. This will include at least two three-credit courses in a statistics sequence (e.g., CEP 519, 520 or 522, PSY 607 and 608).

* For students beginning the Ph.D. program in Fall 2009, training in Responsible Conduct of Research is required by the Graduate School. Students may fulfill this requirement by 1)enrolling in and passing PHI 640 Graduate Research Ethics or RPN 541 Ethics and Conduct of Research, or by 2) completing the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online RCR course with a score of 80% or higher. Students selecting this second option are required to submit a hard copy of the CITI Certification of Completion when submitting their Application to Candidacy.

* Students may take 12 credits of Thesis Guidance (CDS 700) to use towards their Ph.D. degree requirements.

* Students who enter the program without a background in speech-language pathology and audiology may be required to complete a core of courses within this discipline. The courses to be taken will be determined by the student’s Doctoral Committee.


Maintenance of a B grade average (3.0) is required each semester. Grades lower than a B- will not count towards completion of the Ph.D. If a student fails to obtain a B average for any semester, he or she will be placed on academic probation with no guarantee of university funding for the subsequent semester. If the student fails to achieve a B average during the probationary semester, the student will be dismissed from the program. Decisions regarding student funding during the probationary period will be made by the Ph.D. Committee in consultation with the department chair.


It is expected that after graduation most students will seek employment in a university setting; therefore, it is important to ensure sufficient exposure to the academic culture. All doctoral students are expected to be engaged in the department's activities and to be involved in research, so consequently are expected to attend full time. A minimum of two academic years of full-time residency is required. Please note that university regulations stipulate that all graduate work credited to the doctoral degree must be completed within seven years of the first registration date in the doctoral program. Students must maintain continuous registration until the degree is conferred. (Summers are not counted, one credit each semester is sufficient).

Advisory Committee

Ph.D. training consists, in part, of a research apprenticeship under the guidance of one or more graduate faculty in the department. Upon admission, the student will be assigned a major advisor. The major advisor and at least two other faculty members will complete the Doctoral Committee. The Doctoral Committee will be responsible for advising and evaluating the student during the pre-dissertation phase of their program. With permission of the Doctoral Committee and the chair of the department, the student has the option of changing advisors at any time during the program. By the end of the first semester, a statement of program and schedule of relevant coursework must be approved by the Doctoral Committee and placed on file in the department. At any time thereafter, the advisor, in consultation with the student can change the Doctoral Committee.


* Maintenance of the grade point average

* Successful completion of the Project 1 and the Project 2.

The completion of each project should include: a proposal document, a proposal meeting with the committee (non-public), a public oral presentation in the CDS Department and a final written document.

Proposal documents should include a literature review, proposed methodology and expected results (suggested length of 3-6 pages). The intent of the proposal document is to provide the committee members sufficient background and scope of project. The committee members may ask the student to follow up with supporting information for the final written document. The committee as a whole will monitor completion of the pre-dissertation projects.

Public presentations of the Projects are required in the CDS Department. Presentations may occur on the department Research Day. The oral presentation will be evaluated by the committee members. The final written, scientific document for the Project 1 should be approved by the committee prior to the proposal meeting for the Project 2, and the final written document for the Project 2 should be approved by the committee prior to the pre-proposal meeting for the dissertation. Committee members should be given a minimum of two weeks to read and evaluate completed documents. Exceptions may be made depending on schedule of individual committee members.

* Successful completion of the dissertation proposal.

Pre-proposal meeting: A non-public meeting of the student and committee for discussion of scope of the study. A proposal document should be provided to the committee members prior to the meeting.

Proposal meeting: A public oral presentation. The final proposal document may take one of the two following formats, which agreed by the committee at the pre-proposal meeting.

a) An NIH-style proposal (F31 Predoctoral Fellowship application) which consists of an abstract, specific aims, significance, innovation, and approach sections. Current NIH guidelines should be followed.

b) A traditional dissertation proposal document consisting of literature review and proposedmethods and expected results (page limit variable).

* Completion of Responsible Conduct in Research training (see above for description of how to complete this requirement).


The Doctoral Dissertation Committee must be composed of a minimum of 3 Committee members who are members of the Graduate Faculty. The Committee must include the Dissertation Advisor, who serves as Chair of the Dissertation Committee, and two additional Committee members who must have an earned doctoral degree. In all instances, the majority of Committee members must have Graduate faculty appointment in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences.

Once the dissertation is completed, the Committee must be given the document at least 2 weeks prior to the oral defense of the dissertation. This defense will include a public presentation of the dissertation, followed by questions and answers by the public. A closed meeting will follow this with the student and the dissertation Committee. At the end of this meeting, the Committee must vote on the acceptability of the dissertation topic and the dissertation document. The Committee will vote pass or fail on the dissertation topic, and pass, pass with revisions or fail on the document. The vote on the dissertation topic need not be unanimous, but rather can be approved with one negative vote. This negative vote cannot, however, be from the advisor. A failure of the dissertation topic must be accompanied by a recommendation of by the Committee. This could include a completely new dissertation, a revision of data analyses, or dismissal from the program. A fail vote on the dissertation document is only given when a Committee member votes to fail on the dissertation topic. A pass on the dissertation topic but a pass with revision on the dissertation document indicates that the writing of the document is not acceptable. Each Committee member who votes pass with revisions on the dissertation document must provide editorial comments to the student. They can either ask to see the revised manuscript, or leave it up to the advisor to determine the acceptability of the revised document. Upon dissertation approval, Committee members must sign the dissertation, indicating their approval.